Academic Representation Review.

Academic representation has changed a lot over the past few months, and that’s all down to a major piece of work we undertook last year.

What was the review for?

After a launching our 2016-2021 Strategic Plan, we quickly realised that our course rep system was inconsistent, confusing and simply old-fashioned. We wanted to ensure that we could effectively represent students’ academic interests at Royal Holloway. So, we hired an external consultant to meet with students, course reps, union staff and College staff to ascertain what academic representation should look like, how it should be used by all people within the academic community, and what we needed to do to next. As a result, we were given 42 recommendations to implement over the next few years.

What's changed?

Quite a lot. We’ve already made a start on over 30 of the 42 recommendations, and we’re striving to have the rest ready to go by September 2020. Here are the headlines:

  • Academic representation now takes place over four different levels: course reps at the course and programme level, senior course reps at the department level, faculty reps at the faculty level and VP Education at university level.
  • This year elections will be ran online by the SU. This means that every course rep position is up for grabs and will be elected properly by the people they will be representing.
  • We’ve created a new recognition plan for reps including career development opportunities, increasing knowledge of key pieces of current debate within the wider Higher Education sector, and some practical sessions to help with your lobbying for things like recorded lectures.
  • We’re also going to be recognising staff more too, with our year round awards launching in October. As long as they have done something that is above and beyond their job, and made a positive impact on student life, they’ll get a certificate and mug for being great!
  • We’re going to be developing the role of academic societies to ensure that they can also play a massive part in academic representation, as well as making sure they are supported properly!

What's next?

  • We’ve started monitoring the diversity of our academic reps this year, but we’ll need at least two years’ worth of data before we can create a proper plan to ensure academic reps are representative of the university population.
  • We’re researching online platforms this year and are looking to have a new format in place next academic year to make it super easy for course reps to contact you, and vice versa!
  • We’re experimenting with different styles and content for our year round career development this year, but we’re expecting that this will be developed significantly over the next couple of years until we find the best option to increase our representative’s career aspects when they graduate.
  • We’re constantly developing new ways to empower your reps to make change across campus.


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